Will the EPA Bring More Change?
Survey Results for 10/14/2009:
The transfer of Energy Star to EPA:
Will speed development of more stringent criteria.
Will slow development of more stringent criteria.
Will not have much impact on program.
During GlassBuild America, I heard a few people grumble about the shift of the Energy Star Windows program over to EPA. The announcement of the change came just before the show began, and a number of people expressed some fears that EPA was more of an activist body of the government. Our poll results suggest some our industry readers believe EPA will move more aggressively than DOE has, but the numbers are not overwhelming.
There are indications from Washington, however, that the industry can expect more aggressive movement on both development of new Energy Star criteria and enforcement of existing criteria.
First, it's worthwhile to note, an article from the New York Times Web site reports that Energy Star is coming under more Congressional scrutiny. Sen. Jeff Bingamon (D-N.Mex), who heads up the the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, included provisions in the committee's American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009, introduced in July, that would require improvements to the Energy Star program. The senator told the Times the changes at DOE and EPA are inadequate and there are still questions about "stakeholder involvement in the process."
A second article also suggests that enforcement may get more attention. The New York Times apparently got ahold of a DOE internal audit of the program that suggests the Obama administration is committed to do more to make sure "all Energy Star products provide American consumers with significant energy and cost savings, assure products," as one DOE official noted. The audit focused more on applianced, but it also noted the government has not started doing promised “retail assessments” to ensure that windows, doors, skylights, and other products carrying Energy Star labels perform as expected. Manufacturers of windows, doors and skylights are required to get their products tested independently, the Times article notes. That is not true for all Energy Star product categories.
Whatever happens in the coming months related to Energy Star, there is still positive feeling in the industry about the potential of a tiered performance label—Energy Star and Super Star. "I think it makes good sense, this gives consumers options to meet their budget, along with more opportunities for the manufacturer and dealer," said one reader.